He there, Hi There, Ho There

Welcome Back Mickey

Continuing on.

%%%

Dismounting from The Mad Doctor's Beetleworx dome, The Mad Doctor and Blot meandered through the worn out attic, heading for the vault. The Mad Doctor was disturbed by how much of his equipment was confiscated by the other Toons. But it was nuance. He could replace and rebuild it all when he chose.

Using the code to the vault door, The Mad Doctor entered into the vault, cackling victoriously. "Those fools believe breaking my device will save them." He chuckled. "Little do they know…" He dug a box out from under a loose floorboard under the table, "I always have a backup." He opened the box, revealing a green remote with a navy blue button and several beetle shaped chips with a red and black eye in the back. "OOH-HOO-HOO! THIS IS GOING TO BE DELICIOUS!"

The Blot remained outside while the scientists played with his little toys. He growled irritably in the back of his throat, with his arms folded, listening to the bald man laugh like a crazed loon. BLARE! BLARE! BLARE! The Blot turned around. A Seer Blotling bounced on its skinny red legs, blaring excitedly.

"You've found them?" The Blot asked. The Seer blared again, only now it was beeping in code. "So they are in the castle." The Seer trilled and squeaked. "I do not mind that you engaged them. But what I need to know is what they are up to." The Seer growled heatedly, glaring eerie daggers to his master. The Blot smiled wickedly. "So they ARE summoning the mouse. Through a mirror no less." The Blot stroked his chin pensively, wondering how they planned to get Mickey to Wasteland.

They weren't able to summon Mickey before. In fact they've been frantically and futilely trying to save their precious world on their own. But now that the little kitten girl is with them, suddenly they found a means to get the Brush Mouse to this world.

The Terror Box. The Blot thought, having an epiphany. Before the box broke, the Blot saw images of a sudden flash fire which seemed to generate from the child. Then somehow the girl sabotaged the device in Tomorrow City. Then, from what the surviving Blotlings informed him, the little kitten's eyes flashed and they were blinded. Now the Toons of Wasteland are attempting to summon the Brush Mouse with a mirror?

The Blot chuckled menacingly. "My, my, my," He hummed, "This child is very interesting."

%%%

The Slobber drew an arm back, summoning thinner into its palm. He lined up his aim to the mirror. "STOP THE SLOBBER!" Ortensia shrieked. Prescott immediately shocked the Slobber, making him drop the thinner into the floor. Ortensia and Cecelia let out a breath of relief. The Sweepers came forward and tossed their thinner. "AH!" Ortensia screamed. Cecelia grabbed Ortensia by the hand and pulled her out of the way. The thinner splashed to the floor, thinning the color from sight. Cecelia swallowed a nervous lump; not wanting to know what would happen if the thinner fell on any of them.

Oswald and Prescott charged for the Sweepers. The Slobber reached his hands out, grabbing both and throwing them into the wall in the hallway. "OSWALD!" Ortensia shrieked.

The Sweepers moved in for Ortensia and Cecelia, drawing their cans back. Cecelia yanked Ortensia behind her. The Sweepers tossed the thinner. A powder blue hue glazed onto Cecelia's fingertips. She shot a hand out. An aura of a shield spanned out, repelling the thinner. Ortensia gaped in amazement. Gus swooped in and tossed a paint cube at the two.

A cloud of paint exploded then liquefied, soaking the Blotlings through and through. They erected and spun, turning completely blue. They waved happily to Cecelia, Ortensia, and Gus. The three waved back.

"GAAH!" Oswald choked.

"OSWALD!" Ortensia ran out to the hallway. Gus and Cecelia ran after her.

The Slobber had Oswald and Prescott in a vice grip, crushing their bodies in his massive hands. Gus frantically grabbed three paint cubes and launched them. The Cubes may have exploded onto the Slobber, but they didn't affect him like they did the Sweepers. Might as well have poured water onto slick glass.

"Why didn't they work?" Cecelia screamed in dismay.

"Slobbers are tough skinned!" Gus growled, cursing himself. "Painting them is no different than watering a rock." He spat. "We have to get the paint inside." The Slobber sluggishly turned to the three, braying like a mule in laughter. Oswald and Prescott struggled against the iron grip. Their remotes were dropped into ground just behind the Blotling. The Slobber tightened his grip. Prescott and Oswald heaved, wheezing as they felt the air leave their lungs.

"YOU PUT THEM DOWN!" Ortensia demanded. "RIGHT NOW!" She stomped her foot.

The Slobber inhaled and spat three streaming balls of thinner. Cecelia jumped in front and summoned the shield. The thinner slid splashed and fell to the floor, clearing the Toon carpet halfway. "Nice try, Ortensia." Cecelia congratulated. The Slobber inhaled again and again and again. Volleys of thinner soared for Cecelia, Ortensia, and Gus. Cecelia kept the shield up. But slowly it was disintegrating with the vapors of thinner.

Oswald and Prescott were steadily fading from consciousness. The Slobber needed to drop them soon. "CECELIA!" Gus called. "When I say so, drop the shield!"

"WHAT?"

"TRUST ME!" Gus held six cubes in his hand. Cecelia looked back to the widened Slobber and caught on. She nodded, agreeing to his plan. The Slobber spanned his feet. Opening his mouth, he inhaled deeply. "NOW!" Cecelia dropped the shield and grabbed Ortensia, dodging out of the way. Gus launched the cubes, landing them all into the Slobber's mouth. The Slobber closed his mouth, choking. Numerous pops exploded into his stomach. The paint filled his insides, turning the leaky black ooze into blue. The Slobber smiled and placed Prescott and Oswald onto the ground.

Ortensia and Gus ran to the two, helping them to their feet. The Sweepers and Slobber all waved as they made their way down the hallway.

"Are you boys alright?" Ortensia coddled Oswald.

"Yeah…" Oswald groaned dazedly, massaging his head, "Thanks." He smiled weakly. "Gus, Cecelia – Thank you."

"No problem." Cecelia chimed.

"Our pleasure." Gus bowed his head.

"All this just to watch a mirror?" Prescott snarled.

"And it's only eight in the morning." Gus chuckled. Prescott wheezed, falling to the ground. "But despite the minor trouble, that was fairly easy."

"I agree." Cecelia nodded. "Our escape from Space Voyage was trickier than that."

"What do you mean?" Ortensia asked fretfully.

"They were scouts." Oswald answered grimly. "They had to be." He massaged his ears. "If they were meant to stop us, the Blot could have sent much more AND much worse."

"For someone whose strength isn't fully recovered," Cecelia hissed, sitting against the wall, "The Blot sure seems capable of sending lackeys."

"They're most likely the lingering Blotlings." Prescott answered. "They may be few, but there are still some Blotlings left from last year's thinner disaster."

"The one Mickey helped you with." Cecelia concluded. She laughed dismally. "I'm starting to feel like a burden."

"Not in the least." Ortensia beamed. "You were great! Were it not for you, the thinner would have hurt us."

"Ortensia's right." Gus agreed. "You were marvelous." Cecelia blushed bashfully, her ears and tail flickering.

"Now if only the REALLY useful person would arrive." Prescott huffed. "When is that brush going to do its job?"

"How should I know?" Cecelia responded snidely. "Once it enters, I can't track it."

Prescott scoffed, rolling his eyes. "Of course not." Cecelia grabbed his dropped Data Finder and threw it at his head. "YOUCH! WHY YOU-"

"ENOUGH!" Gus roared. Cecelia and Prescott turned their backs to each other. "Cecelia said from the get go the spell was tricky and that we'll have to wait." Gus pressed his nose to Prescott's. "So we'll have to wait!" He snarled.

But Prescott, in his own obnoxious way, had a point. The brush was taking a while. Cecelia could only wonder if the trip was long…or if she performed the spell wrong.

%%%

The brush zoomed through a celestial plane. Violet streams swam within the navy hue, whisking by as the brush followed its charted course. Small sparklets twinkled in the abyss, turning into needles that seemed like shooting stars. At the end of the brush's seemingly long flight, a rectangular shaped light shined through the darkness.

%%%

It was an early, cloudy February morning. Light grey clouds covered the sky in a thick blanket. The outside air was cold, but warming as time passed. Lying in bed, snuggled comfortably in his bed, Mickey slumbered peacefully, snoring happily.

Over his dresser, the glass in the mirror began to ripple. Steadily appearing from the beyond the glass, the brush emerged from the mirror and hovered over the slumbering mouse. The bright glow shining brightly, Mickey stirred from his sleep.

"WHOA!" He gasped at the brush. Mickey rubbed his eyes, hoping it wasn't the sand in his eyes making him hallucinate. It was no hallucination. The brush was in his bedroom. And it was floating. "How did that get here?" He asked, believing the brush would answer him. Not likely.

"Oh." Mickey noticed the folded paper attached to the brush. As the brush descended into his lap, mickey unwrapped the piece of paper. It was a letter from Ortensia.

Dear Mickey,

There's trouble here in Wasteland again and we could really use your help. The Mad Doctor has revived the Blot, and they're causing trouble. We can explain more when you get here. For now, take the brush in your hand and follow the path to us. Please hurry!

Sincerely, Ortensia

Mickey didn't need further information. His friends were in trouble and needed his help. And judging from what they did to the brush, they needed him now. Mickey threw his blankets off and jumped up on his feet. He grabbed the brush full force. The glow around the brush transferred to Mickey. The brush lifted Mickey into the air and pulled him into the mirror.

%%%

Mickey was brought into the celestial plane. The never-ending view before him was awe inspiring. The glow of the brush quickly died down, gently lowering Mickey onto a yellow brick slab.

"Um…" Mickey hummed confusedly. He looked at the note Ortensia wrote to him. "What path?" His voice echoed. Mickey looked on ahead, searching for the path he was supposed to follow. He could see a light in the vast distant. Most likely his exit. But how can he even begin to think about exiting when he can't even get to it.

"Wait…" Mickey knelt to the ground. "What's that?" There was a transparent shadow connected to the yellow slab Mickey stood on. "It's Toon." He recognized. A triumphant smile appeared on Mickey's face. He gripped the brush tightly and aimed at the Toon. Paint streamed from the bristles, splashing onto the Toon shadows and turning them into yellow bricks. "HA-HA!" Mickey cheered. Running onto the newly painted portion of his path, Mickey sprayed the rest of the toon, drawing out his path as he went along. "Hold on, guys! I'M COMIN'."

%%%

Oswald and Gus paced back and forth in the parlor. Going left to right and sometime front and back. Prescott, with his hands folded behind his head, hovered close to the ceiling, hiding his apprehension in his sour expression. Ortensia and Cecelia drank some of the herbal tea Ortensia brewed.

Only ten minutes had passed since the brush vanished into the mirror and already the tension was rising high in the room. Should Blotlings decide to attack, everyone might collapse from heart attacks.

"Hm." Prescott poked an eye open. The glass started to ripple. Prescott gaped in shock. Not possible…"Look there." All eyes glanced automatically to the mirror.

A pair of gloved hands gripped the sides of the mirror. Ortensia and Cecelia flew from their chairs. Prescott hovered behind them. Oswald and Gus rushed to the mantel, prepared to jump in just to drag the person attached to those hands out. Round ears poked out, a face, and finally the entire body of a familiar mouse in red shorts. Prescott gaped in disbelief.

"MICKEY!" Gus, Ortensia, and Oswald cheered. Cecelia dropped to her knees, releasing a long held breath of relief. "Great ta see ya again, Mickey." Oswald held out a hand.

"Likewise." Mickey shook the hand.

"Hi Mickey!" Ortensia cheered. "Welcome back!"

"Nice to see you again, my boy!" Gus welcomed.

"Thanks guys." Mickey chuckled. Mickey saw Prescott and waved. The bitter gremlin scoffed and sardonically waved. Mickey could only laugh. After all, Prescott wasn't exactly known for his sunny disposition. He handed Ortensia the letter. "I got your letter. But, uh," He gawked at the brush in confusion, "How'd you get it to float?"

"Our new friend helped." Ortensia brought Cecelia forward. "Mickey, meet Cecelia. Cecelia this is Mickey Mouse."

"Nice to meet you." Cecelia beamed.

"Same here." Mickey flinched back when Cecelia leaned in suddenly.

"So you're the mouse who snuck into my Grandfather's workshop." She remarked, finally seeing the result to the mystery.

"Grandfather?" Mickey retorted perplexedly. "Wait! You mean the man with the beard and hat?"

"That's him."

"Gosh. Does that mean you have magic too?"

"Yep." Cecelia circled a finger, conjuring a smile powder blue sparkled stream.

"Amazing."

"AHEM!" Prescott exaggeratedly cleared his throat. "I hate to interrupt this lovely meet, greet, and reacquaint banter," He heaved, the sarcasm dripping from his tone, "But I seem to recall we have other matters to deal with!"

"Prescott's right." Oswald agreed. "There's trouble in Wasteland."

"So I heard." Mickey confirmed.

"It's because of that Doctor guy and the Blot, right?" Cecelia guessed.

"Right." Gus confirmed.

"You said the Mad Doctor revived the Blot." Mickey said to Ortensia.

"Uh-Huh." She nodded somberly. "You see…"

%%%

Flashback

(Ortensia POV)- Some time after you left, we started to rebuild and repaint Wasteland. Repairs were going great with everyone helping. Even the Pete's were helping.

"Wait? The Pete's?" Cecelia questioned in dread. "You mean there's more than one?"

"Yes." Gus answered educationally. "There's Petetronic – whom you've met. Then we have Small Pete, Pete Pan, and Big Bad Pete. All of whom aren't evil to a Tee, but still like the cause trouble."

"Could have fooled me."

Ahem! As I was saying, we had most of Wasteland fixed after the thinner disaster. All that was left was the Lonesome Manor and the Mad Doctor's old lab.

(Gus POV) – Oswald, Prescott, and I decided it would be good if we could salvage some of the Mad Doctor's old equipment. Since he had disappeared after we defeated him in the manner last time, most of his things lied around, taking up space in the manor. Ian and Gilbert were becoming aggravated. And believe me, aggravating a ghost is the last thing you wish to do.

So as we neared the attic, we gathered some lying about metal, cleaning up and tossing it into the thinner if we don't need it. Gabriel and Sam were awfully happy to see their projects evaporate into nothingness. Gilbert and Ian kept scolding them about leaving their projects lying around.

(Prescott POV) – Though is technology was barbaric at best, some of it would be useful in upgrading tools, fixing the local shops, and helpful with my inventions in the gag factory.

"So you are capable of doing something other than complaining." Cecelia sniggered.

CHATTER OFF! I'M TELLING A STORY! Cecelia giggled impishly. AS…I…WAS…SAYING…we managed to salvage a few things from the front lab. Some of the thinner I managed to drain away revealed scrap metaled Beetleworx. Gus found pumps that could be used to remove most of the thinner lying about. As for Oswald…he was distracted.

(Oswald POV) – I was distracted by something coming from beyond the vault door. It was open partially. A series of bright flashes coupled with what sounded like a drill on metal came from around it. Gilbert told me that he and the others could hear sounds coming from the attic. As if someone was working on something. They didn't investigate it, though. To them it was a good addition to the spooky air of the manor.

I went over to the door, wanting to know if someone really was up there. A gremlin, the Haberdasher maybe, possibly even Adelle. She likes pictures. But when I peeked through, it wasn't anyone from town. It was the Doc. He had something on a metal table. Something that required a lot of electricity.

I should have gotten out of there. Or got Gus and Prescott to come in with me. But I had to know why the Doc was up there. So I snuck in, hiding behind the super computers he had against the wall near the door. When I peeked around, I was horrified to see the body of the blot lying on the table. The Doc was recreating the Blot with the remaining Blotlings lurking around. I noticed the Blot was slowly slipping apart. Like he couldn't keep himself together. Wasn't surprising. He wasn't exactly…alive. Maybe the Doc made a replica.

The Doc had a green orb in his hand. It pulsated oddly. Made my fur crawl. The Doc put the orb into the Blot creation and in a matter of minutes it rose. Like a regular Frankenstein.

Flashback end

Cecelia and Mickey gaped in horrified awe. Mickey was more terrified than her. After all, he and Oswald nearly died trying to stop the Blot. They were eaten and soared out in a flurry of fireworks. The thought of having to do it once more made his stomach curl. But he had to do it.

"The problems don't stop there, I'm afraid." Prescott announced grimly. "Because the Blot has been alive for only a short time, his strength to resist paint and thinner has yet to return." Confirming the injury theory. The Blot used to have legs. But because of the incident with Cecelia, his legs dissipated into nothing more than a tail. "So the mad doctor needed a way to give him strength. And because his main power was fear and terror, the Mad Doctor created a device to turn that into energy."

Gus glanced to Cecelia sadly. "Cecelia experienced the secondary issue created by the Doctor." Cecelia pointed to herself in bewilderment. "The welts on your temples," Cecelia touched the sore welts, "They came from a device called the Terror Box. It generates a person's worst nightmares, their most horrific fears." Cecelia's eyes widened, returning to the images she saw when those suction cups touched her head. She wrapped her arms around herself, shivering. Mickey touched a comforting hand to her shoulder. "The Doctor has tried and failed that that machine. Testing it out on any and all Toons. You were possibly his tenth guinea pig."

"Tried and failed that many times?" Cecelia asked, resenting being someone's lab rat. "Good thing I broke it."

"You broke it?" Oswald questioned.

"I had a power surge and fried something. I'm guessing the box you mentioned."

"Then he most likely has a backup." Prescott stated, raining on her parade. Cecelia arched a perplexed brow. "Rule number one of science: Always have a backup."

Oswald plowed a fist into his open palm. "Then we should get that backup before he uses it." He declared. "We should check the Lonesome Manor." He suggested. "Mickey, Cecelia, can we count on you to help?"

"You bet!" Mickey cheered.

"You want my help?" Cecelia asked suspiciously. Prescott arched an irritated brow.

"If you don't mind." Oswald encouraged. "I know we've only just met, but your magic could really come in handy."

"It already has three times." Gus reminded her.

"I don't know." Cecelia shied away. "I'm only a novice."

"Novice with skill."

"Why would she help us?" Prescott spat. "This place isn't her home! Why should she help us, is the correct question."

Cecelia suddenly felt a certain obligation to lend her aid. At the same time, she was insulted that Prescott thought so low of her. "Because unlike you, SUNSHINE, I'm not so shallow!"

"SUNSHINE?" Prescott boomed. Mickey glanced to Oswald, wondering what was up. Oswald shook his head, urging Mickey to leave it alone. Prescott moved in challenging to Cecelia. "WATCH YOUR TONE, WITCH!"

Cecelia touched her forehead to his. "OR WHAT, NERD?" Lighting surged between their eyes.

"Cecelia, Prescott," Gus's voice sang. The glaring two turned their attention to Gus, then cried out in fright, hugging each other. Gus bounced a baseball bat in his hand. "I believe you both agreed to a truce only 15 minutes ago." His voice rumbled, making Cecelia and Prescott back into the wall. "Now I suggest you bear that in mind, or I will ensure the Lonesome Manor will receive two permanent residents."

"OKAY! OKAY!" Prescott waved his hands pleadingly.

"WE'LL BEHAVE!" Cecelia waved her hands as well.

Both raised their right hands and placed the other on their chest. "WE PROMISE!" They both blurted.

"Very good." Gus placed the bat against the wall. "Shall we head to the projector in the West Courtyard?"

"Projector?" Cecelia hummed.

"Our main method of travel and transport."

"How many courtyards are there?" Mickey asked. Last time he was here, he didn't get a chance to browse the castle.

"Just the West and East courtyards. West is the one you and I used to escape the castle. The East has the train station."

"Then what are we waiting for?" Ortensia opened the parlor door. "Let's head out before more scouts come."

"More?" Mickey questioned.

"We had a little trouble before you got here." Cecelia hummed, her face flushed as she meandered past him. Mickey shrugged his shoulders, believing it.

Oswald, Mickey, and Cecelia poked their heads out the door, scanning the hallway for any unwanted company. The three erected their thumbs, giving the okay. The six ventured into the hall, keeping their eyes peeled in case more Blotlings decided to attack.

"By the way Cecelia," Mickey prodded her ears, "Have you always looked like this?"

"No." Cecelia pouted, pulling at the ears. "In fact I'm human," She motioned her hand, measuring herself to Mickey, "And possibly a few inches taller than you." Right now she was shorter than Mickey. The same height as Oswald if you don't include the ears. "I'm not sure how I got like this."

"Probably just the Toon effect." Gus explained.

"An improvement to be sure." Prescott snickered. Lightning struck his butt. "OW! GRR!" Cecelia huffed to the wall, not giving Prescott the satisfaction of her attention. "Brat." He rumbled.

"Prude."

"TRUCE!" Gus roared. Prescott and Cecelia huffed.

Mickey, Ortensia, and Oswald laughed at the two. "So how do we get to the West Courtyard from here?" Mickey asked.

"Let's see…" Oswald hummed pensively. "We go through that Main Entrance area where you and I first met." Gus explained.

The same place where Mickey nearly had his heart plunged out, and was attacked by the giant Swiss army knife eye. "EGH!" Mickey shivered. "That's a scary memory." He giggled shakily. He stroked his chest, "I can still feel the plunger."

Cecelia tilted her head. "Plunger?"

"Oh! Right!" Oswald gasped. "We never explained." He chuckled. "You see, because the Toons in Wasteland are forgotten, we don't have hearts." He pointed to the sky, "If we did, we would be at liberty to leave Wasteland whenever we wanted." Oswald pointed to Mickey. "The Mad Doc tried to take Mickey's heart. Whether it was for himself or the Blot – we didn't know. But then the Blot got it, and was almost strong enough to leave."

"But Mickey got it back and was able to leave?" Cecelia guessed.

"Right."

"So…" Cecelia touched her chest, "Does that mean I can go home whenever I want?"

"Yeah." Oswald answered. "In fact, after we're done at the Lonesome Manor, we can send you flying home in a rocket if you like."

"REALLY?" Cecelia beamed. Prescott, not looking at Cecelia, furrowed his brow hatefully. Cecelia folded her hands behind her back. "In that case," She giggled, "I'll stay here until the Blot is finished and done with!" Prescott's eyes widened in abject shock.

"You will?" Ortensia gasped, surprised by her answer. "But…this isn't your fight. And your grandfather is probably worried."

Cecelia curled her fingers into a determined fist. "That Blot thing dragged me down here all the while hurting my grandfather!" She hissed. "Not to mention that wannabe scientist used that stupid box on me! They made this my battle and I'll see it through to the end!" Prescott, Mickey, and the others were moved by her speech. Prescott found himself in awe of the young girl's determination. "Besides," Cecelia unclipped her spell book from her hip, "If grandpa didn't expect me to fight, he never would have sent the brush or my book."

"Then it's settled!" Gus decided. Gus hovered in front of Cecelia, "Cecelia is now an honorary member of team Wasteland." He shook her hand. "Welcome aboard."

Cecelia blushed. "Thanks." Ortensia giggled and clapped her hands. Oswald bobbed his head, approving. Mickey patted Cecelia on the back. Prescott simply rolled his eyes and shook his head. But…a small…half smile cracked on lips.

%%%

The Main Entrance was more open than Cecelia thought, or Mickey remembered. The old crumbling, upper walk ways was fixed, cleaned up. The wood displaced there once was removed. The Mad Doctor's equipment was gone. The lower portion had a long rug going from the double doors to up the first stairs. It was nice.

"This way." Gus guided them up the left stairway. Mickey and Cecelia lingered behind the group, ogling in awe. It was a nice place. And with the early morning clouds hovering overhead, it gave the main entrance a certain ambiance.

"This is amazing." Cecelia breathed.

"This is nothing." Ortensia giggled. "You should see the rest of the castle." Unbeknownst to the six, the head of skeleton fazed through the floor, glaring with yellow eyes.

"Too bad we don't have time for a tour." Gus sighed. "You two would love the views we have."

FWAH! FWAH! Two ghoulish blotlings soared from the floor at the top of the stairs. The upper bodies of the Blotlings were skeleton in shape. The spinal cord was connected to a tattered, oozing cloak. The six stopped in the tracks, planning on turning back and running. Two more the ghostly blotlings appeared from the floor behind them.

"WHAT ARE THESE?" Mickey screamed.

"Ghouls!" Gus howled. "They were pieced from the Shadow Blot!"

"But I defeated the Shadow Blot!"

"Apparently not!" Cecelia screamed. The Ghouls drew their hands back, summoning large balls of thinner in between their palms.

"RUN!" Gus blurted. The Ghouls launched barrels of thinner for the six. Oswald grabbed Ortensia, Gus mickey, and Prescott Cecelia. The thinner struck the stairs, dissolving them. Prescott and Cecelia went to the bottom floor near the double doors, getting cornered by two of the Ghouls. Gus and Mickey returned to the door they entered in from, finding themselves facing off against one of the Ghouls. Oswald and Ortensia were on the top floor, found by the final Ghoul.

"HOW ARE THEY GETTING IN HERE?" Prescott roared.

"This isn't common?" Cecelia asked shockingly.

"Not lately!"

The Ghoul swung and swiped his boney hands, missing Mickey and Gus by an inch. The Ghoul tossed thinner at the floor where Mickey landed, tripping him up. Gus jumped in, and smashed his fluttering feet into the Ghoul's face. The Ghoul swatted Gus into Mickey. The two slid, hitting their heads against the door. The Ghoul laughed manically, approaching menacingly slow. Gus and Mickey backed away, pressing their backs against the door. The Ghoul sent volleys of thinner balls darting for the mouse and gremlin. Mickey and Gus leapt in opposite directions. The thinner burned the door away. Mickey winced, finding that too close for comfort.

The Ghoul approached Gus, arms spread with boney fingers wriggling. It hissed thinner gas. The yellow in its mouth and eyes dripping with malice. Mickey jumped to his feet and aimed his brush, spraying the Blot with thinner. The Ghoul didn't melt or dissipate like other Blotlings. The Thinner just washed off of it. The Ghoul floated closer and closer to Gus, nearly having its boney, thinner soaked fingers upon him.

Panicking Mickey sprayed the Ghoul with paint. Normally paint befriends a Blotling. The results were anything but friendly for the Ghoul. The Ghoul screeched in pain, melting into the floor. Mickey and Gus were taken aback by the outcome. Gus sighed with relief, mentally thanking Mickey. "Have I mentioned yet how happy I am to have you back?"

"Once or twice."

Cecelia and Prescott staggered back, spreading so to separate the Ghouls. Prescott charged his Data Assistant, Cecelia summoned magic around her fist. The Ghouls launched a barrel of thinner. Cecelia dodged out of the way. Prescott flew into the air. The Ghouls relentlessly fired thinner, piecing the floor away, revealing the thinner under the stone flooring. Prescott and Cecelia ducked and dodged, eventually being cornered at the double doors.

The Ghouls hovered over them and cast powerful barrels of thinner. Cecelia threw up another shield. The barrels blew into the shield so hard, Cecelia's feet dragged. Prescott swooped around the shield and sent a stream of electricity at them. The Ghouls wailed, their bodies' spazzing. Cecelia dropped the shield. "Flurry of Flames," Holding two fingers perpendicular to her lips, she inhaled. Flickers of fire swirled in her mouth, "KAZAM!" She blew hard. Fire in a raging stream spanned into a curling wall, engulfing the two Ghouls. Prescott shielded his eye from the heat, watching the two Ghouls turn into ashy vapor. The flames raging from Cecelia's mouth soon died down, leaving light char marks on the stone.

"Impressive." Prescott remarked.

"A compliment?" Cecelia teased. "I'll take it."

"For an amateur." He added slyly.

"UGH!" Cecelia slumped. "Almost." Prescott chuckled.

Oswald kept Ortensia behind him, backing off as the Ghoul launched ball after ball of thinner. Oswald cradled Ortensia in his arms and took flight. The Ghoul flew up after him and swiped a hand at his ears, disrupting his flight. Oswald and Ortensia fell for the ground. Oswald put himself under Ortensia, breaking her fall. The Ghoul towered over them, summoning thinner to its palms. Oswald grabbed Ortensia again and hopped out of the line of fire.

The Ghoul, after piecing so much of the upper walkway away, trapped them in a corner. Ortensia trembled behind her rabbit. Oswald kept his arms spread, protecting her. A small drop of Thinner splashed, missing Ortensia's foot by an inch. Oswald pushed her back, keeping her out of the line of fire. As the Ghoul prepared to toss more thinner, Oswald drew his remote and electrocuted the Blotling. Oswald jumped and unleashed a kick to the Ghoul's face, batting it into the ground. He electrocuted it once again, but it wouldn't dissipate.

Oswald took out a paint cube Gus handed to him and tossed it. The Ghoul was covered in paint. But instead of becoming friendly, the Ghoul melted like butter. Ortensia and Oswald let out breaths of relief. But their respite would be short lived.

"COME ON YOU TWO!" Prescott urged. He, Gus, Cecelia, and Mickey were standing at the West Doorway. "MORE ARE COMING!" Gus pointed to the wall. Oswald and Ortensia looked to the top of the wall. More Ghouls slithered their way over. "HURRY!" Oswald and Ortensia ran as fast as they could. Gus and Prescott closed the doors behind them, baring off the Ghouls from entering. Gus and Prescott threw numerous paint cubes at the door, covering it in paint. Prescott and Gus flew after the running four, hearing the Ghouls collide with the door. The paint acted as a barrier, preventing them from fazing through. But it will only last while the paint is on the door. Enough thinner and it'll fall off.

"WHY DIDN'T THE THINNER WORK?" Mickey blared.

"THE GHOULS EAT THINNER!" Gus answered. "Sorry! Forgot to mention that!"

"AGAIN WITH YOUR FORGETTING!" Prescott scolded him. "DO YOU NEED A DOCTOR?" Gus didn't respond. Mainly because he thought Prescott might be right.

"SO IT'S SAFE TO SAY THE BLOT KNOWS YOU'RE HERE!" Ortensia wailed to Mickey as they sped down the stairs. "AND HE'S NOT HAPPY!"

"WOULD YOU BE IF THE CAUSE OF YOUR DESTRUCTION RETURNED?" Cecelia howled.

"Do you think the doc knows?" Oswald panted.

"Most likely he suspects it!" Gus agreed. "We need to get out of the castle!" He stated first and foremost. "The Blotlings are trying to corner us here!"

"How are they getting in?" Prescott asked heatedly. "They can't just simply float in."

"Wait!" Cecelia came to an abrupt halt. Prescott and Gus bumped into her. Mickey, Ortensia, and Oswald stopped. Cecelia faced Gus. "You said the Projectors are the main use of travel and transportation."

"Besides the trains, they are-" Gus cut himself off, understanding where she was going with her statement. All eyes fell onto the door leading into the Courtyard. "THEY COULDN'T BE!" The six darted for the door. Cecelia and Ortensia stayed in back as the boys pushed the door open. They all ran in, seeing the projector beyond the catapult. The gate to that doorway was closed shut, screaming Do not enter.

Sliding along opposite walls, the six crept forward. Oswald and Mickey, ahead of the group, peered around the courtyard. Seers and Spatters scoured the courtyard. Managing to glance past the catapult, the two were able to make out an orange and yellow stripped bubble dome around the Projector. Oswald glanced across to Prescott, signing with his hands for the gremlin to check the dome.

Prescott held out his Data Assistant, getting a read off the frequency of the dome. Cecelia glanced over, intrigued by the beeping and zigzagging lines on the Data Assistant. "That dome is meant to disrupt the projector." He informed his friends in a whisper. "No one can get in or out."

"Then how are the Blotlings getting in?" Cecelia asked. "The Slobber especially."

"Through those." Prescott pointed to pipes hanging over the courtyard. "Sweepers, Seers, and Spatters come from them." He explained. "The Ghouls flew in. The Slobber…could have pounded its way in from anywhere."

"We have to get the gate open." Oswald instructed. "Ortensia and I will twist the gears to get the gate open." Ortensia nodded. "Gus and Prescott, get those valves turned off." Gus saluted. Prescott waved a hand. "Cecelia and Mickey, keep the Blotlings busy." The two nodded. "GO!"

Gus and Prescott soared high into the air, obscuring themselves from the sights of the Blotlings. Ortensia and Oswald split off to opposite walk paths, darting for the gears that controlled the winch to the gate. The Seers spotted them, alerting the Spatters. When the novice grade blotlings dashed for them, thinner and fire stopped them in their tracks. Mickey and Cecelia glared them down.

The valves on the pipes started to turn, drawing on more Blotlings to come and battle. Gus and Prescott went at the pipes with their wrenches. Disrupting the flow and closing it off. The Blots that tried to come turned into simple ink drops, and splashed on the ground.

Cecelia and Mickey smiled and lunged into the fray, thinning and burning the Blotlings. They came and attacked as fast as they could. Mickey and Cecelia were too fast. With one watching the other's back they fended the Blotlings off.

Ortensia and Oswald sprinted as fast as they could to the gears. The battle below was low and hectic, prompting them to run faster. Coming to the gears, Oswald and Ortensia panted heavily, needing to regain their strength before turning the heavy wheels. The moment Mickey and Cecelia destroyed the final Blotling, Ortensia and Oswald turned the wheels.

The gears in the winch grinded ear piercingly loud, making the four below cringe and cover their ears. The gate fully opened, locking in place. Prescott zoomed to the Projector, vanquishing the dome around the projector. Oswald soared to the group with Ortensia in hand. Prescott eagerly began calibrating the Projector's directionality with his Data Assistant. The screen on the projector flickered and flashed a picture of Mickey. Prescott chuckled, praising himself. "So we do not have to endure going through a number of Projectors, I have calibrated the Projector to take us straight to Mean Street."

"Impressive." Cecelia chimed. "For a grouch."

"Ugh." He dropped his head. "Almost." For the first time since they met, Prescott and Cecelia chuckled lightly.

"Shall we proceed?" Gus suggested.

"Won't the Blots just follow us?" Ortensia worried. "They've gotten into Mean Street before?"

"If we stay they'll try picking us off again." Cecelia stated.

"Besides," Gus interjected, "The Blotlings haven't come to Mean Street or Ostown since the Thinner Disaster." His expression saddened. "But I cannot halt my fear of them coming after us."

"Regardless, we have to go." Oswald pressed. "Who else can stop the Doc before he hurts someone else?"

Ortensia and Gus immediately looked to Cecelia, still able to make out the red marks on her temple. They sighed somberly. "Okay." Ortensia agreed reluctantly. Oswald kissed her on the forehead, cheering her up slightly.

"So…" Cecelia trailed off, prodding the projector screen, "How does this work?"

"Like this." Ortensia grabbed her hand and jumped. Cecelia screamed as she was pulled through the screen. Mickey and Oswald couldn't help laughing. Finding the reaction funny. The other four jumped in after the girls, on their way to Mean Street.

%%%

The Mad Doctor tapped his foot pensively to the ground, muttering grouchily under his breath. The Blot, with a Seer on his shoulder, listened humorously to the Mad Doctor's mumbles. "So they did get that mouse here." The Mad Doctor rumbled. "And what's more," He glared to the Blot, "That little girl spit fire at them. Defeating your most elite of Blotlings. The Ghouls."

"I warned you of her." The Blot remarked snidely. "What I saw suggests that girl is as dangerous as the Mouse. Maybe even more so."

"And now they are no doubt on their way here to my lab." The Mad Doctor paced disconcertedly. "I may be able to repel the brush." He stroked his chin roughly. "But magic? The most magical thing we have in Wasteland are the Tints and Turps." The Guardians of Wasteland. "Pure Magic is not on my list of battle ready plans."

"Then perhaps you should draw some up." The Blot suggested snidely. "In the meantime," The Blot slithered for the Projector gateway, "I shall divert their attention from the Manor."

"And how do you intend to do that?" The Mad Doctor challenged.

"We left Petetronic in Tomorrow City." The Blot reminded the Doctor. "Let us see if he cannot redeem himself."

To be continued. I'll be gone for a while. I have another fic that needs my attention. I will be back. Promise.